I have often (in my head) made excuses or wondered really how much I am limited by my diabetes and what is “possible”. Seeing this video created by Matt Spohn from Team LivingVertical, I am forced to step away from what challenges me and think, ‘Ok, maybe I have gotten this all wrong. Maybe I am capable of a lot more.

That message is important for everyone–every day, especially when you are living with diabetes.

To give this film a little context, Matt is climbing a route here called “Desert Shield” which is rated 5.13b. I don’t want to go into too much of the details of how rock climbs are rated, but this is harder than nails. That means it’s a steep climb on tiny holds–requiring incredible power and finesse. Climbing at this level is beyond badass for any climber and Matt makes it look like he is just out for a stroll. With diabetes. Because he is.

As a climber, as a person with diabetes and as Matt’s teammate this is so inspiring because you don’t get to this level of skill without serious discipline and training–and over 15 years of diabetes too! Shouldn’t this be what diabetes looks like? You won’t see Matt jet-setting off to conferences on behalf of his corporate partners though. He runs a climbing gym and coaches a kids climbing team to pay the bills and climb as much as possible, which he does–with his wife Michelle–while living out of a van. Sound familiar?

These are the stories and people we want to bring to the forefront through our expedition film series. Because ‘grassroots’ is not just a vestigial term to be tacked on ad nauseum–it’s how the stories get told that don’t necessarily serve to sell stuff. We think that matters.

matt spohn climbing with diabetes

By now you’ve heard about the expedition film series we are trying to make, yes?

This a revolution in the way we interact with diabetes. We are not asking for a handout–we are simply asking for help making a real difference through grassroots stories from the edge of what constitutes “normalcy”. We have a little over a week to get this project funded–we are not professionally sponsored athletes. You won’t see us in magazines, because we are normal people. The reason we climb–to escape diabetes and be free–is something we can ALL share, even those of us who don’t climb 5.13s like it’s a walk to the mailbox…

We shoot our own footage, on our own cameras that we carry with our ropes and harnesses and insulin; we edit it, and we work hard to afford time off to go on expeditions that can be shared–expeditions that make history. Help us build on this. We have great things in store beyond anything you have seen from us yet and we need YOU to help us make that into a finished product.